Joan Ninivaggi
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Obituary of Joan L. Ninivaggi

Joan Laura Ninivaggi passed away peacefully at Maplewood at Stony Hill senior living community on September 3rd, 2023.  She was 88.

Joan was born on May 17th, 1935, in Jersey City, New Jersey to John and Edith Fitzpatrick.  She was the oldest of John and Edith’s five children.  She was raised in Northern New Jersey until she moved to New York City to attend nursing school.  She knew at an early age that she wanted to be a nurse and graduated from the School of Nursing at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.  She loved helping and caring for people all her life, working as a registered nurse following her graduation from nursing school in 1956.  She retired in 1999 as a school nurse in the Danbury Public School System in Connecticut.  She was beloved by many of the students at South Street Elementary School, where she was known as the “smiley faced germ buster.”

In 1959, Joan married Vito Ninivaggi, whom she met on a blind date.  Vito and Joan went on to raise five children, which she described as her greatest accomplishment and legacy.  During the early years of their marriage, Joan and Vito lived in Hillsdale, New Jersey with their young family.  In 1971, they moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, and she lived in Fairfield County until her passing, other than a three-year period living as an expatriate in Tokyo, Japan from 1984 to 1987.  One of the highlights of her life was living overseas, where she gained a deep appreciation for the land and people of Japan.

Joan was an amazing mother and grandmother.  She was never happier than when she was spending time with her family, especially during the holidays and football season.  Joan loved watching football on a crisp Sunday afternoon in the autumn with her brood.  She will be missed for the many Christmas and Easter traditions she bequeathed to her family.  Joan made the holidays magical.  Always the Jersey girl, she also loved family beach vacations in Harvey Cedars and Brick on the Jersey Shore.

Joan wanted to be remembered as a good person, a fun person, and someone who very much loved and took great pride in her family.

Joan is preceded in death by her husband, Vito, of 62 years; her daughter, Andrea McGranahan; her son-in-law, William McGranahan; and her son, James Ninivaggi.  She is survived by her daughters, Mary Cox, Susan (Joseph) Daly, Caroline (Shawn) Schestag; 11 grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bethel, Connecticut on Saturday, September 9th at 10:00am, followed by a reception at a location to be determined prior to the funeral mass.

The family suggests donations be made to RVNAhealth, formerly the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, at in lieu of flowers. 


Funeral Mass

10:00 am
Saturday, September 9, 2023
St. Mary Church
24 Dodgingtown Road
Bethel, Connecticut, United States
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